Do These 6 Things:
Building a loyal social media following for a small business is difficult, but is well worth the effort. Social media provides a forum to interact with current and future customers, it allows you to show off your brand, it provides a level of trust for potential customers.
Your following count, the quality of your content, and the consistency of your interactions is the biggest review system your business will have, and your ability to do social media well will likely be one of the largest correlations you have to growth – especially if you sell your products or services direct to consumers.
So, with that said, we have decided to lay out what we consider to be the 5 most important steps to take when building that loyal following:
Focus on the big three – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
One of the first things you should do as a new business is secure your handles on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These are the three platforms your audience will expect your business to have a presence on, and should be actively maintained.
Planning how you will use these three platforms should be completed early on, and will take much of the stress out of maintaining your presence.
How you choose to use each platform will vary depending on your target customers, what you are selling, and your business model, however there are some general guidelines that we find many businesses follow:
Twitter: The Twitter platform is especially well suited for customer service. This is a place your customers can easily give your business a shoutout, let you know about a defective product, inform you of a broken link on your website, or any number of direct customer to business interactions. Make sure your business is equipped to respond quickly and professionally. Your followers will expect it.
Facebook Page: Facebook often acts as a businesses digital storefront. It is a place for your most dedicated fans to receive product updates, exclusive discounts, and to connect with you and other fans. It is important to provide updates and address comments on a regular basis.
Instagram: Instagram is especially good for showcasing your business creativity, uniqueness, and beauty. Instagram is useful for displaying the lifestyle component of your brand, and showing how your products or services can be used to make your customers life better, easier, or whatever it is your business achieves.
Set up an Instagram Business profile, and connect this to your Facebook Business page. This will provide access to key analytics that are not available to personal accounts, will allow you to take advantage of Facebook advertising, and will provide another layer of credibility for your followers.
Post quality content that accurately reflects your brand:
You run a professional operation, and your content has to reflect that. It needs to be well thought out, and should be organic.
This doesn’t mean that every photo needs to be professionally taken, or every bit of copy needs to be sent to an editor. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Part of producing quality content is that it should allow your businesses authenticity to shine. In saying that, ensuring you have a common theme among the type of content you post is important, and doing a quick spell check and putting a little bit of thought into how your feed looks shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Adobe Lightroom is a great tool to use for your photo content. We recommend selecting a common filter that reflects your brands vibe, and applying this to each of your photos. This will ensure every photo in your feed looks like it belongs. Pairing this with a tool like Preview App will allow you to pre-plan your Instagram content, ensuring that each photo you post maintains a cohesive feed.
Consider building a personal brand:
Do you practice what you preach? If so, having a personal brand in addition to your business brand can be a great way to build trust with your customers. It provides a personal connection, and shows that you believe in your business as much as you want your customers to.
As a business owner, you are probably the one person in the world who lives the values your brand represents more than anyone else. Show this authenticity in your own branding and social media. This authenticity will serve as one more reason for people to follow your business on social media in Vancouver, and eventually become loyal customers.
Post often and consistently.
The amount you post does vary depending on the platform, however a general rule of thumb is you should be active on each at least once per day. If you are going to be on social media at all, you better be on there regularly. If you want to grow a following, we suggest the following posting frequency:
Facebook Page: minimum 4 updates per week
Twitter: 1 – 4 tweet per day
Instagram: 1 – 2 posts per day
If this seems like a lot, it is. One of the hardest things about building a social media following in Vancouver is figuring out how to post that much organic content. One positive is with all of this practice, you will be forced to hone in on your voice, image and brand more than you would if you didn’t have to do this.
Engage with your audience – Respond to comments thoughtfully and quickly.
As your businesses following grows, you will find you receive more and more comments from followers. No matter how trivial the comment may seem, one of the most important things you can do is address every one of them. This will require you to be active on social media multiple times a day, and as your business grows, keeping up with comments can become a full time job.
Addressing comments, and directly responding to your followers will build loyalty, and will also give your customers a feeling that they matter. If this seems trivial, perhaps shift your perspective; if each of these comments came from a customer in a face to face interaction, what impression would you want to leave and how would you want to treat that customer?
Get offline to build online.
Every following began with one. The more that you can show your businesses authenticity offline to individuals, the more loyal your following will be. Plus, these offline showcases can then be photographed and presented online! Two birds with one stone. Get out there, and build those one on one relationships.
Building a following doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, so be ready to commit to this over the long term. And if that commitment scares you, I know of a creative agency that can help you out 😉